Always the smooth operator, Obama is urging the American people to tune out other voices and listen only to the sound of their dear leader's voice. He bemoans the growth of new media during his commencement address at Hampton University in Virginia: "You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter.With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."
It is less than slightly ironic to hear our Blackberry-toting president proclaim he is unable to operate modern technology, but the content of his new media criticism is downright chilling. Obama's political career has been built on a narrative that he and his close associates carefully crafted. The only biographical information we know about the president comes from his two autobiographies, both of which contain large embellishments and historical inaccuracies. These inaccuracies were virtually censored in the formerly dominant old media. Only the new media have dared to challenge Obama's narrative.
Obama laments the role cable news plays in the political discourse because they dare discuss issues he doesn't want covered. This would be an interesting academic topic, were it not for attempts by his underlings to restrict the flow of information on the Internet and over the airwaves. While he demonizes blogs, talk radio and cable news, his czars and his recent Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, are perfectly comfortable with the idea of the U.S. government restricting free speech.
Free-flowing information is a vital part of any free society. If the public is unable to get information unfiltered by the government they will never hear a fair and open debate.
Obama wants to withhold conflicting versions of the public narrative from the American people, and the old-line media are willingly going along with Obama's desires. Were it not for alternative sources of media such as blogs, talk radio and cable news, Obama and his radical friends wouldn't have to defend their agenda. That's why team Obama is seeking to restrict these alternative forms of media. Obama's recent attack on new media is part of a strategic assault on free speech.
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